Sunday, November 12, 2017

V 7 N. 76 Beirut Marathon Goes Political

Beirut Marathon Participants Run for Their Deposed PM  clik here for The Guardian report

November 12, 2017

Would'd a thunk?   A marathon that goes political?  The link above from today's  The Guardian
covers the story.   This past week, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia received an official visit from
Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, but forgot to roll out the red carpet.  Instead they detained him on vague  terms that fall under the cloak of Middle East politics involving the struggle between Iran and the Saudi Kingdom.  Hariri appears to have bowed to the Saudi move by resigning from his post out of fear for his family's safety.

I can't think of another head of state being arrested by another power since the US arrested Manuel Noriega in Panama and brought him back to the US and detained him' until he died.
Perhaps someone can refresh my memory on this.  I do recall the former Soviet Union
bringing Alexander Dubcek to Moscow for a 'firm' talking to until he all but stepped down during the Prague Spring.  At that time Czechoslovakian folk hero and legend  Emil Zatopek spoke out against the Russians and was demoted/forcibly retired from the army and ended up working as a laborer in a uranium mine.

Do we expect a large percentage of runners in a marathon supporting a political cause to change current events?  No, but it is still a signal of a country and region in turmoil being manifested in a way that we have rarely if ever seen.

We consciously try to keep this blog from being a political soapbox, but sometimes politics supercedes sport or visa versa.  In this case our sport seems to have responded to a political crisis and so we report. ed.

Readers' Comments:

From Phil Scott

The first Marathon was kind of political phidippes delivered  message then died. War is here has been here and politics also. Andrew Jackson's trail of tears was no walkathon.

Ooops!  My daughter just reminded me of politics and the Olympics, so let's recall the actions of Tommie Smith, John Calos, and Peter Norman on the podium in Mexico City an Vera Caslavska turning away while the Soviet national anthem was being played.    The US boycotted in 1980 over the Afghanistan invasion and the Soviets reciprocated in 1984 by boycotting the LA Games.  In 1976 a number of African nations boycotted Montreal over the New Zealand rugby visit to South Africa.   And of course the terrorist attack in Munich was much more than a political statement by the PLO.   And let's also not forget the statement by the  silver medalist Ethiopean runner Feyisa Elyisa in support of his tribe the Oromo in the Rio marathon.

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